Oprah 2020: Is This The New Normal?

Olivia Sher, Op-Ed Editor

Sunday night Oprah Winfrey was awarded The Cecil B. Demille award at the Golden Globes and took the entire country to church. She spoke of a free press, equality, and new horizons for all. The internet claimed it was the most presidential speech they have heard all year causing #Oprah2020 to trend number one on Twitter. This raises the question, “Is this our new normal?”.

Oprah Winfrey is an eloquent speaker, a successful producer and director, and an incredible actress. None of these skills tell us that she can navigate complicated global issues, build allies, command an army, and negotiate nuclear threats. Plenty of celebrities have transitioned from media to politics, but the presidency is not the place to start.  

Plenty of celebrities have transitioned from media to politics, but the presidency is not the place to start.  ”

In 2016 Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president and the whole country laughed. A reality tv star running for president, what a joke, but then he did the unexpected. He won. A man with no political experience became the president of the United States. But what has a celebrity presidency looked like? The US is on brink of a cold war with North Korea, the president has alienated himself from his political party, hate crimes have risen, and allies have been lost. Every time Donald Trump sends a tweet it is a lesson for citizens about why the U.S. Presidency is not an entry-level position. Donald Trump broke the standards for qualifications for president, but as a country are we really ready to throw them out?

The presidency requires intelligence about the armed forces, a knowledge of how Congress operates, the ability to negotiate deals with foreign allies, and a working knowledge of the Constitution of the United States. A celebrity possesses none of these qualities. In 2018 it should not be a radical statement to say Oprah is not qualified for president. 44 presidents in our history have gone to law school. Every single president except Donald Trump has commanded an army or held public office. They had the experience and education to understand the Constitution, political negotiation, and diplomacy. As a nation, we can not simply succumb to the cult of personality for the most powerful office in the country.

Donald Trump broke the standard of qualifications in 2016, but that does not mean we cannot fix them. This presidency should be a lesson to do better in 2020. Vote for qualified politicians starting in the primaries. The party system is undeniably broken, but celebrities are not the way to fix it. As a country we can not simply accept that charisma is the only quality that makes a sane president. Donald Trump should be a lesson to the American people, not an example.

In the next election examine a candidates policy, not their personality. Write to your senators, go to town halls or debates, and ask meaningful questions. Qualified presidents have protected the security and the values of our Constitution for last 242 years. We have seen the consequences of a personable, charismatic celebrity in the white house. In 2020 we must take what we’ve learned and rectify our mistakes.